For the first time in nearly two decades, one of the nation’s most notorious white supremacists is no longer in the U.S. government. The swearing in of the 117th Congress on Jan. 3 marked the official end of Steve King’s legislatively unremarkable career as a U.S. representative from Iowa, after losing his Republican primary race to challenger Randy Feenstra in June of last year.
Like Daily Kos noted at the time, Feenstra is himself no walk in the park and we were rooting for Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten to win this thing. But at the same time, King’s forced retirement from the House of Representatives is nevertheless a momentous occasion for countless immigrants, in particular Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients who spent years combatting his unique brand of racist, hateful asshole-ness. They’re still here. He’s gone.
King has been a jackass for years and his offenses stretch out longer than my arm, but one thing that stuck out was his years-long effort attacking the hundreds of thousands of young immigrants protected DACA, notably in 2013 when he got a full floor vote to defund the popular and successful Obama-era immigration program.
Oh sure, Republican House leaders feigned shock when King then made the claim that young immigrants have “got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert” (remember that gem?), but then GOP leadership continued to give him anti-immigrant votes the very next year while doing nothing to pass humane immigration legislation. That same year, King also grabbed the arm of a Latina DACA recipient who grew up in the U.S. and confronted him, telling her, “You’re very good at English.”
In yet another example of his racist asshole-ness targeting young immigrants, the motherfucker in early 2017 toasted the deportation of Juan Manuel Montes, a DACA recipient who was unlawfully deported at the start of impeached president Donald Trump’s administration. Montes, who had lived here since he was 9, was kicked out without so much as a chance to say goodbye to his family. “Border Patrol, this one’s for you,” King cheered, tweeting a picture of a mug of beer.
So while the outcome of King’s race didn’t turn out how we’d hoped with the election of Scholten, I’d say immigrants and their advocates deserve a moment to celebrate King’s forced retirement. “I’m so glad to see you go,” that young Latina, RAICES leader Erika Andiola, tweeted following King’s primary loss in June. “PS: I case you’re still wondering, that was English I was speaking,” she continued.
Of course, that King has been forced to retire just now is a reminder of how the Republican Party at large not only tolerated this racist, but enabled and supported him. King began to face real repercussions from Republican House leadership (and donors) only after he made comments defending white supremacy in 2019, stripping him of his committee assignments.
The House eventually voted 424-1 on a resolution of disapproval against King, with one legislator voting against it because he said the resolution didn’t go far enough. The day before the vote, Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush had introduced a resolution to formally censure the “unrepentant racist,” writing that “King’s pattern of despicable comments harken back to the dark days of American history where his rabid, racist remarks would have been acceptable to a significant portion of our nation. This must come to a screeching halt right now.”
King is gone from office now, so now he’ll have to retweet neo-Nazis sympathizers and defend children’s prisons on his own time and dollar. “But before we credit the GOP for purging one of their most outspoken and toxic standard bearers for white nationalism, let’s be clear,” immigrant rights advocacy group America’s Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry said following his defeat. “While the tumor of King has been removed, the cancer of his worldview and politics has metastasized and spread throughout the Republican Party.”
Trump will be gone from office soon too (I mean, to boot both Trump and Steve King from office in the same month is pretty major), but the fight to keep protect immigrant families is nowhere close to over. Keep fighting.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.